Naugatuck hires assessor, deputy police chief

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NAUGATUCK – The borough of Naugatuck hired two new employees Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses.

New Assessor Approved

The Board approved George Hlavacek of Shelton as assessor in an 8-1 vote, with Burgess Jay Kuczenski dissenting and Burgess Mindy Fragoso absent from the meeting.

As assessor, Hlavacek will oversee the Office of the Assessor, which re-evaluates the value of property in the borough for tax purposes.

“The assessor is in charge of formulating the Grand List, which essentially is documentation of all taxable property in the borough,” said Mayor Bob Mezzo.

Hlavacek will have a full plate next year, as he conducts a physical re-valuation of all property in Naugatuck.

“Every 12 years you do a physical, which means you literally have to hire a company to go out and do inspections of properties to determine value, much as an appraiser would if you were buying a house,” said Mezzo.

Hlavacek has 29 years of experience as assistant assessor in Stratford and assessor in Brookfield. In 2006, he worked with Vision Appraisal, an independent company which Naugatuck has used in the past, to do a re-valuation in Brookfield, according to Hlavacek.

“I have the qualifications they were looking for,” said Hlavacek.

According to his employment agreement, Hlavacek will receive a base salary of $55,000, provided he maintains his Certified Connecticut Municipal Assessor (CCMA) II certification. The contract expires in 2014.

According to the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers’ website, the certification is valid for five years. To maintain the certification, Hlavacek must successfully complete 50 hours of approved courses or workshops.

According to the website, the certification program is voluntary. However, a new State Statute makes it mandatory that the annual Grand List be signed by a certified assessor.

Hlavacek started his new position Thursday.

“We will be reviewing contracts and deciding who’s going to do our appraisal for 2012,” said Hlavacek.

Lieutenant promoted to Deputy Chief of Police

The Board voted to hire Joshua Bernegger as Deputy Chief of Police, with Burgess Jay Kuzcenski abstaining.

Bernegger has been acting as Deputy Chief of Police since he was appointed by the police commission Aug. 17, but his contract was subject to approval by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, according to Mayor Bob Mezzo.

The employment agreement was held up, according to Mezzo, because of negotiations with Bernegger. Despite being promoted, Bernegger lost some the benefits, such as job security and fixed compensation, he was previously guaranteed as a union member, according to Mezzo.

“We worked for several weeks,” Mezzo said, “to address his concerns of losing some of the advantages of being in the union and reconciling them with some of our concerns that we were not willing to replicate his benefits and compensation structures that he would receive in the bargaining unit in our non-union employment agreement.”

Bernegger has worked for the Naugautck Police Department for 13 years.

According to the contract, Bernegger will earn a base salary of $87,078, with raises guaranteed for the first three years until the contract expires in 2014. According to Mezzo, the other police officers will receive more pay than Bernegger because of overtime which Bernegger cannot receive as a salaried employee.

“He’s getting promoted, yet his opportunity to earn is going to be limited,” said Mezzo. “He was nothing but a professional and a gentleman throughout the whole process, and while we didn’t always agree, we were able to reach an agreement.”